OK, this one was totally under the radar.
A few people in my group classes have seen it in progress, but mostly I did this one on the sly.
It’s a bottom-up raglan sleeve tee shirt style sweater, in the most funky yarn imaginable — Gedifra “Velato”, which I picked up a few years ago on a trip to Canada.
It doesn’t show up that well in the scan, but it’s a nylon mesh tube with a strand of cotton running through it. When I swatched it at the suggested gauge, it was incredibly loosey-goosey, and I ended up knitting it really rather firmly — OK, maybe a bit too firmly — in the final embodiment it’s practically like ribbed neoprene. Which is actually OK — I kind of like it. It takes the place of those body-sucker undergarments, anyway.
This sweater started out as one of those items that has been languishing in my “hotlist” pile for a loooong time. I always liked the floofy look of this sweater — it’s from Knit ‘n’ Style, April, 2002.
Unfortunately, when I looked at the schematic, it is basically a big ol’ rectangle. Zero shaping. Hey, notice how the model is hugging her arms to herself? Uh-huh, that’s right. It’s a big ol’ box.
Well, I couldn’t have that. So I decided that, instead of throwing in some shaping, I would do the bottom half of my sweater in ribbing. I swatched a couple of needle sizes and rib patterns, came up with a slightly stretched gauge of 5 sts per inch in your basic 1 x 1 rib, multiplied that by my 34″ bust, cast on 170 sts, and away I went.
It takes a loooong time to knit a long enough tube of 1 x 1 rib to reach to your armpits. Of course, when you wear it, it gets wider and thus shorter — so I ended up having to knit about 120 rounds of rib, which was a little over 16″ long, I think.
The good news is, by that time, the sweater was roughly 85% done.
The bad news is, I was running out of black yarn.
Somewhere along the line, I decided that I’d rather knit an all-black garment, and then knit a separate floofy thing to wear over it. Or several floofy things. Much more versatile.
What I failed to consider when making that decision was that I really only had enough black yarn to make mmmmm, maybe half a sweater comfortably. Probably not really enough yarn to make a whole sweater. Certainly not one with actual sleeves.
So then I thought of another item in the hotlist, which was this little gem from a Knitty Gritty show. You’ll notice it doesn’t have actual sleeves — you just bind off some sts for the underarms and then cast them on again. It’s a technique I’ve seen Annie Modesitt use elsewhere, too, on her Red Carpet Convertible.
Well, what the heck, I thought. When I get to the underarms, I’ll give it a try.
Woof. Looked awful. Dunno if it was my shoulders, or my yarn, or what — but it wasn’t good.
So I went back to Plan A: which was to make some dinky little 1″ sleeves on dpns, glom it all together, and then just knit the yoke with standard raglan shaping until the yarn ran out, and hope that it would be enough for some kind of modesty. Well, not a lot of modesty. OK, maybe I just mean not completely embarrassing, in an “I can’t estimate yarn amounts for beans, even though I’ve been knitting for over 20 years” kind of way.
And hey, would you look at that — I lucked out!
(Incidentally, this sweater is made in just about the same way and has almost the same dimensions as the “Sassy” sweater. Well, why screw around with a good thing?)
Overall, I’m pretty pleased with the outcome, although as usual I have strayed fairly far from the original idea. There is one unexpected downside though: while the firm ribbed fabric does kind of suck in the tummy, it also flattens the boobs.
Oh, well. Apparently, you really can’t have everything!